Columnist Mark Longacre explores the different styles found at Philly Fashion Week.
Nothing excites me more than runway shows – they’re like the Philadelphia Auto Show of fashion. Watching models glide – or sometimes trip down the runway brings a smile to my face faster than a sale at Nordstrom’s. Naturally, when I heard about Philly Fashion Week hosted by FBH Agency, I knew I had to attend. Receiving my confirmation e-mail was better than getting accepted to Hogwarts.
Interestingly, the event was hosted in North Philly in the Crane Arts building. I walked in to see a massive line at the door and someone in the front yelling something. From the beginning, the show seemed unorganized and unpolished.
Its unpolished image continued with the MC, who sounded like he was speaking in tongues. I couldn’t understand a word he said. Normally, other fashion shows have a display that shows which designer owns the runway at that time, however, Philly Fashion Week relied upon the MC without any visual aids.
Unlike New York Fashion Week, the models that walked in Philly Fashion Week weren’t flawless. Several models walked the runway in shoes several sizes too big for their feet – this highlighted the flaws that plagued the show. Fortunately, the designers’ clothing mostly redeemed Fashion Week’s image.
The show opened with Single (https://singledress.com), a contemporary women’s clothing line. The line featured a series of animal-print dresses that hugged every curve of the model’s slender frames and several dresses made with delicate chiffon.
Dark designs in chiffon combined with a creamy fabric underneath gave a sexy, yet sophisticated feel. It was something you could wear to a family get-together and then drive off to a swank club without having to change.
Tyren Patrick’s designs stunned the audience with his bold looks. I love black, and my jaw nearly hit the ground when I saw his models wearing sleek black gowns and dresses. You can’t go wrong with a little black dress right? Unfortunately, the male designs in his line were incredibly disappointing. One model walked the runway in red-plaid pants. The men’s line didn’t seem to fit the “contemporary take on a classic look” that the women’s line had.
Like Patrick, Amaresinh designed a line reminiscent of the early 1900s. The first model pranced down the runway in a tan pea coat with black-leather gloves, skin-tight tan trousers and black stiletto boots that ran up to her mid-thigh. Her outfit reminded me of an upperclass woman from the 1920s – carefree and sexy, yet thoughtful and classy.
His line seemed to go very well until a model walked the runway and then was asked to walk the runway again slowly. She walked painfully slow in a gorgeous gown, which not only reflected negatively on the designer, but also the show as a whole. It made one more aware of the fact that Philly Fashion Week only started in 2007.
Unfortunately, not all of the collections impressed the audience. One designer – I think it was ChaCha N’Kole – showed a line that had clothing that was almost entirely un-wearable because almost every piece was some level of sheer.
Clothing is designed to cover our bodies. When it doesn’t actually cover you, what’s the point? The only appropriate place to wear sheer clothing is in the bedroom, and who wants to spend significant amounts of money on something you’d only wear for 15 minutes?
It seemed completely impractical to me. To make matters worse, the clothing wasn’t sewn correctly. Zippers bulged, seams busted and pieces of the dress bunched up on the model.
The line didn’t appear to be full of finished products, but rather works in progress. One model walked down the runway wearing pants that were safety pinned to her underwear because the waist didn’t fit properly and her tuchus showed.
Overall, Philadelphia Fashion Week was worthwhile because it gave me an opportunity to see what Philadelphia has to offer. Given the fact that this is only the fifth year FBH has hosted Philly Fashion Week, it has potential to be a serious showcase of Philadelphia talent. Hopefully, FBH won’t make the same mistakes next year.
Mark Longacre can be reached at